Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Friendly Wager about Superluminal Neutrinos

Or How Our Two Cents May Be Worth 10,000 Times More

Suggested prior reading: Why Can’t Anything Move Faster Than Light?

I’ve been following the well written and often thought provoking blog of Johannes Koelman. One of his articles titled Einstein On Steroids: Dirac, The Higgs, And Speeding Neutrinos in which he discusses some of possible implications of the OPERA results (which appear to show that neutrinos can violate the speed of light limit imposed by special relativity) caught my attention.

In his interesting and entertaining article (which you should definitely read if only as an example of the sociology of science), Johannes suggests that no theoretical physicists would bet in favor of the confirmation of the OPERA results while there would be plenty of them that would bet against it (the results are overwhelmingly dismissed as being an experimental error).

Now, having predicted the possibility of relative superluminal particles (absolute speed cannot exceed the speed of light), specifically that relative superluminal photons and neutrinos. Both particles share some characteristics which allows them to move at relative speed in excess of c but with actual intrinsic speed equal to c. I confidently responded that I would take the bet.

As readers of this blog (see here and here) and Introduction to Quantum-Geometry Dynamics know, I believe that the speed in excess of the speed of light corresponds to speed of the Earth relative to the quantum-geometrical background along the axis connecting CERN to Gran Sasso.

I was pleasantly surprised that, like me, Johannes was willing to put his money where his “blogging mouth” is. So after exchanging a few email we agreed to the terms of a bet. You can read them on his blog appropriately titled Putting My Money Were My Mouth Is.

Of course, neither of us are doing this for the money (though $200 can buy an outing in a pretty decent restaurant and I love restaurants), but mainly as a way to stimulate discussions and awareness of the very fundamental question the OPERA group poses to physics.

I think this could be a lot of fun.

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